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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2017 01:07 PM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship: Creating the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to create the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act.

Specifically, my legislation would prohibit employers from inquiring about or using information related to a job applicant’s juvenile or summary offenses, cases that did not result in convictions, and cases that were expunged or pardoned. It would permit employers to applicants’ felony or misdemeanor convictions when they are related to suitability for employment and when a position has predetermined security requirements under federal or state law. To ensure compliance, the bill would require enforcement by the Department of Labor and Industry, as well as set forth fair penalties for violations.

At this writing, standard job applications regularly instruct applicants to disclose any history of criminal convictions. Unfortunately, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employers from using criminal record information in any way that may discriminate against these applicants, there are no federal or Pennsylvania laws that prohibit collection of this data. Not surprisingly, job seekers with prior offenses are frequently denied the chance to interview for a position, even if the offense was unrelated to the job or occurred in adolescence.

Too often, these questions rob individuals of any opportunity to demonstrate their current character and ability to work, and I believe that these job seekers should be given that chance. Pennsylvania should follow the lead of other states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, which have enacted similar legislation.

As such, I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important bill. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (717) 772-9850.

Introduced as HB509